Joe Micheletti: ‘Kings Better On The Road’
It’s been a rough couple of days for Andrew Bogusch, who has watched his New York Rangers lose two games to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.
But the Rangers didn’t just lose two games. They lost two games, on the road, by a goal, in overtime, in which they had two-goal leads on three separate occasions.
Can Joe Micheletti say anything to comfort the co-host of The John Feinstein Show so that he doesn’t jump off of a ledge?
“I was worried about him,” said Micheletti, an NBC Sports Network NHL analyst. “I think that Andrew should take some solace in the way that the Rangers played. Even though they’re down 0-2, I think they come back (from) L.A. and they probably feel pretty good that everyone expected L.A. to be the dominant team in the series – and I think the Rangers have proven to themselves that they can play with them. They’ve got to win tonight, obviously.”
Game 3 is Monday at Madison Square Garden at 8 p.m. ET.
Unfortunately for New York, Los Angeles is as good on the road as it is at home – literally. The Kings went 23-14-4 both at home and on the road this year. They’ve also won three Game 7s on the road in the playoffs.
“I think they’re better on the road, to tell you the truth,” Micheletti said. “The things that’s really striking about them is this is a team that really had trouble scoring in the regular season. Everything was low-scoring. Everything.”
No more. The Kings have scored 3+ goals in eight straight games. In fact, they’re averaging 4.4 goals during that stretch.
And they’re still playing solid defense. Teams used to hope to beat the Kings 2-1 or 3-2. Now, however, the opposition knows that’s probably not going to cut it. If you’re going to beat the Kings, you’ve got to score – a lot.
“You’ve got that added-on feature that they were able to put together, really, at the trade deadline,” Micheletti said. “They ended up getting Marian Gaborik from Columbus and they put Jeff Carter back at center and now they spread out the scoring. They move Mike Richards down to the fourth line, (and) they’ve got this balance of four lines that (have) been pretty good. They’re not unbeatable, but they’re pretty darn good, that’s for sure.”
Game 2 was particularly tough for the Rangers, who led 2-0 after the first period and 4-2 after the second.
Even then, Micheletti knew the game would go to overtime.
“I said, ‘It’s a two-goal lead, but it’s going to overtime. Wait and see. It’s going to overtime,’” Micheletti recalled. “It’s just the way these games have been. The Rangers have not trailed for one second in the series, and yet, here they are, down 2-0. But it gives you an idea of the type of resolve the L.A. Kings have. Nothing bothers them, whether they’re up two goals or down two goals.”
“I heard somebody say, ‘Maybe the Rangers should play from behind. Maybe that’ll be better,’” Micheletti continued. “But guess what? If you have to play from behind against Los Angeles, your chances of winning are so slim – because there’s not a better team with a lead in the game than the L.A. Kings. So I would advise against that.”